Senate Group Proposes Immigration Reform Bill

On April 16, 2013, eight senators put forth a proposal for S.744, "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act." If passed, this Act would make substantial changes to current immigration laws in the United States.

One of the major proposals relates to the treatment of noncitizens who are unlawfully present and who entered before December 31, 2011. In exchange for the payment of back taxes and a penalty, the bill would enable eligible foreign nationals who are unlawfully present in the United States to obtain Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status. Through this provision, eligible applicants could, in addition to obtaining a lawful status, obtain work and travel authorization. If the bill passes as it currently stands, they would also become eligible to apply for Legal Permanent Resident status after 10 years as an RPI.

Additionally, this bill proposes raising the H-1B cap to a minimum of 110,000 visas and a maximum of 180,000 visas annually. This bill also would increase the U.S. advanced degree exemption by 5,000, but limit this exemption to holders of degrees in STEM fields. It also includes revisions to the current H-1B filing process to protect both the H-1B visa holders and U.S. citizen workers.

This bill also does the following:

  • Creates a new work visa category (the W visa), which would be available for lesser-skilled workers;
  • Includes significant changes to the Family-Based Immigrant application process;
  • Removes EB-1 immigrants, doctoral degree holders, physicians who have completed the foreign residence requirement and their derivatives from the immigrant visa quota;
  • Adds a new EB-6 category for certain entrepreneurs; and
  • Requires all employers to be on the E-Verify system after 5 years.

For the full text of the Congressional bill, click here.

We encourage all interested parties to contact their Congressional representatives to express support for immigration reform. You can locate your congressional representative here.

Categories: Immigration Blog